Thank God that the sighting of the crescent moon which signifies the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan does not take place from Lebanon, because in Lebanon nothing is clear, and nobody is able to prove the truth, whatever it may be. The latest story to emerge from Lebanon shrouded in mystery is the news of the bankruptcy of the prominent Lebanese businessman Salah Ezz al-Din. Cases have been filed against him in court by a number of high-ranking members of Hezbollah, and the dollar amount that is missing is said to be in the hundreds of millions.
In Lebanon there are those who nicknamed the bankrupt businessman Salah Ezz al-Din, Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh of money. There are large implications to this [nickname] as Imad Mughniyeh AKA Hajj Radwan – who was assassinated in Syria – was Hezbollah’s genuine and effective military coordinator, both at home and abroad.
Therefore the businessman Salah Ezz al-Din being given the nickname the Imad Mughniyeh of money signifies his importance to the Hezbollah movement, whether through his own operations, or through his investment in the movement, either in Lebanon or abroad. If the information is correct, this may lead to talk that Ezz al-Din was a front for Hezbollah, or the movement’s financial mastermind, in the same way that Mughniyeh was its military mastermind.
Ezz al-Din’s importance can be seen in the volume of information that is being circulated outside of the Lebanese media, and it seems that many facts have yet to be uncovered. There is information that indicates that there is Gulf investment in Ezz al-Din’s real estate project and others, and a Kuwaiti newspaper also revealed that Ezz al-Din has Kuwaiti investors.
There are puzzling questions, such as; how was Hajj Ezz al-Din able to obtain investors from the Gulf and Hezbollah, or at least some high-ranking members of Hezbollah?
What is the relationship between these Gulf investors and the Iran financed and sponsored Hezbollah movement, especially since the bankrupt Hajj Ezz al-Din’s relationship to Hezbollah does not seem to have been a secret?
The Lebanese pro-Iranian and pro-Hezbollah newspaper al-Akhbar” published an article describing Salah Ezz al-Din as being “a close mediator to Hezbollah…as the majority of deposits from the families and supporters of the movement are made with him. Many people deal with him with great confidence, and this has resulted in a number of things, most notably, the rumors that he is a partner to Hezbollah.”
It appears that we are witnessing a familiar story of money and politics, and following the advice given by the inside source to the Washington Post journalists in the film “All The President’s Men” that famously dealt with the Watergate scandal, we must “Follow the money.” This is because the details of this story indicate that it is far more important than it appears at first glance, both for Lebanon, and the world, especially as all the recent financial confrontations in Lebanon have taken place against the backdrop of rebuilding the suburbs of southern Lebanon which were destroyed as a result of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Hassan Nasrallah had promised to rebuild these suburbs with “pure money” however today it seems that this money has disappeared.
We must follow up this story of politics and money in Lebanon attentively and vigilantly, as it may help to uncover many secrets.